Volcanic activity that lead up to the eruption on Jan 15 2022

  • Discoloured water on January 01/02

    A Sentinel-2 satellite image showing green-yellow discolored water surrounding the area to the W of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai captured on 2 January 2022. Some white gas-and-steam emissions are visible rising from the SW end of the island.
  • Small ash plume was detected

    A small ash plume was detected on 3 of January that rose to 6-7 km altitude and drifted 5-10 km NE. The plume decreased in altitude to 5 km.
  • Cyclone passes through the area

    During 3-4 January a cyclone passed through the area, obscuring views of the volcano. A minor ash plume was again detected between 0000 and 0010 on 5 January, which rose to 8 km altitude and drifted 15 km NE; by 0010 the plume had drifted 18 km ENE.
  • Pumice washed up

    Some pumice had washed up on the northwestern beaches of Tongatapu Island on 5 January and a sulfurous odor was reported on the Nuku’alofa waterfront on 6 January.
  • Sulphurous odor reported

    A sulphurous odor was reported on the Nuku’alofa waterfront on 6 January.
  • Mushroom shaped eruption plume

    A sub-aerial eruption that began on 14 January generated a mushroom-shaped eruption plume consisting of gas-and-steam and ash which was 5 km wide at the base and rose to the stratosphere, 18-20 km altitude. The plume expanded to 240-260 km diameter and extended. Geologists on a boat observed Surtseyan pulses ejecting dark, dense material into the air and pyroclastic flows expanding over the ocean around 1700-1830.